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Leaf Facts

  • Leaves are a plant’s powerhouse, using sunlight to join water and carbon dioxide to make sugar, the plant’s fuel.
  • Leaves are broad and flat to catch maximum sunlight.
  • Leaves are joined to the stem by a stalk called a petiole.
  • The flat part of the leaf is called the blade.
  • The leaf blade is like a sandwich with two layers of cells holding a thick filling of green cells.
  • If you hold a leaf blade up to the light, you can clearly see the pattern of its veins.
  • The green comes from the chemical chlorophyll. It is this that catches sunlight to make sugar in photosynthesis.
  • Chlorophyll is held in tiny bags in each cell called chloroplasts.
  • A network of branching veins (tubes) supplies the leaf with water. It also transports the sugar made there to the rest of the plant.
  • Air containing carbon dioxide is drawn into the leaf through pores on the underside called stomata. Stomata also let out water in a process called transpiration.
  • To cut down water loss in dry places, leaves may be rolled-up, long and needle-like, or covered in hairs or wax. Climbing plants, such as peas, have leaf tips that coil into stalks called tendrils to help the plant cling.

Multiple Pregnancy

If you are pregnant with more than one baby—with twins, triplets, or more your pregnancy is called a multiple pregnancy. Fraternal twins are more common than identical twins and are the result of two sperm fertilizing two egg Fraternal twins may or may not be the same sex and are no more alike appearance than any other siblings. Identical twins occur less frequently are the result of one sperm fertilizing one egg, which then separates. Since identical twins carry the same genetic material, they are always the same and always look alike, and always have the same blood type. They may be mini images of each other.

During pregnancy, an increased demand is placed on the body of a woman carrying more than one baby as well as additional placentas or one larger percents. The discomforts of pregnancy are accentuated; since there is increased demand on the circulatory system and the uterus is larger in size. The chances of PIH and preterm labor are greater. For these reasons, many physicians place these women on bed rest at around 28 weeks gestation.

Women experiencing a multiple pregnancy have higher protein and calcium requirements. Additional protein is necessary to provide for adequate growth of the babies and ensure good muscle tone of the over distended uterus. Women who eat well during pregnancy decrease their chances for complications and increase the chances for delivering at term.


Depression is a very definite emotional overlay to the whole problem. Many women experience depression, bouts of irritability, feelings of anxiety and tension. Emotional conflicts often flare. By this time in life most children have grown up and have left home. The woman’s parents have usually died in recent years, or present a problem in a home or convalescent hospital.

Her husband has either failed in life or has made the grade. If he is a failure, there is not much chance of his extricating himself from it at this age. This fact, along with the economic and social stigma this can present in a vulnerable woman, is an extra burden she feels forced to face each day. Maybe he neglects her, and is more at home with his friends. Perhaps he drinks, gambles or otherwise spends more time following his own social pursuits than in caring for his wife.

On the other hand, if the spouse has made a success of his life, this inevitably means he is away from home for many hours each day, and perhaps is involved in trips on account of the business. He has little time to spend listening to her sad story, and often less patience to help her solve her problems that may seem trivial to him when he spends most of his waking hours involved in major decision- making experiences.

None of this benefits his wife, who often feels more and more alone in the world, deserted by all those who mean the most to her.

Doctors hear these sad but very plausible stories on a never-ending basis each working day:

“Life holds no more meaning for me.”

“Life has come to an end.”

“Nobody cares about me anymore.”

“Life is a bore, a drudge; I often wish I would never wake up in the morning.”

The sad phrases roll out regularly.

Because of the hormonal lack, the sex organs tend to be affected dramatically. With no oestrogen, the lining of the vulva and vagina thin out. They generally tend to shrink in size. However, while some women find that intercourse has lost its desirability and attraction for them, many others discover that their libido is considerably increased.

Suddenly, many realize that their child-bearing days are over. The risk of pregnancy is totally removed, and the need to take precautions for contraceptive reasons vanishes. This can add new dimensions to the thought of sex and intercourse. But when it comes to the physical act of lovemaking, the situations may be annoying and completely frustrating.

Penetration may be painful or difficult. The thin, atrophic, ageing lining tends to stretch less easily, and penile accommodation may be less readily achieved as in former times. Many women have found the demands of a thoughtless husband extremely trying. Considerable matrimonial disharmony can take place over this problem, and marriage disasters are not uncommon during the menopausal years.

Menopausal woman must be treated with love. Conversely, some husbands show a markedly reduced libido and capacity and desire for intercourse. Kinsey showed many years ago that after the age of 40, the sexual desire and capacity of most males tended to reduce gradually. Conversely, that of the female counterpart went in the opposite direction. So, once more, some women tend to accentuate their feelings of neglect. They believe their husbands no longer care, or are probably having an affair (usually imaginary) with some fictitious beauty.

Supernova Facts

  • A supernova (plural supernovae not supernovas) is the final, gigantic explosion of a supergiant star at the end of its life.
  • A supernova lasts for just a week or so, but shines as bright as a galaxy of 100 billion ordinary stars.
  • Supernovae happen when a supergiant star uses up its hydrogen and helium fuel and shrinks, boosting pressure in its core enough to fuse heavy elements such as iron (see nuclear energy).
  • When iron begins to fuse in its core, a star collapses instantly — then rebounds in a mighty explosion.
  • Seen in 1987, supernova 1987A was the first viewed with the naked eye since Kepler’s 1604 sighting.
  • Supernova remnants (leftovers) are the gigantic, cloudy shells of material swelling out from supernovae.
  • A supernova seen by Chinese astronomers in AD 184 was thought to be such a bad omen that it sparked off a palace revolution.
  • A dramatic supernova was seen by Chinese astronomers in AD 1054 and left the Crab nebula.
  • Elements heavier than iron were made in supernovae.
  • Many of the elements that make up your body were forged in supernovae.

Curvature of the Spine

Torticollis is sometimes referred to as “wry neck.” The child’s head is tilted to one side with the face turned slightly to the other side. When it occurs during infancy, torticollis is usually not visible at birth but appears a week or so later. The cause is not clear but the problem is usually an excessive tightness in one of the neck muscles. The treatment is usually a careful stretching program. In many cases the deformity will correct with this treatment. If the problem is ignored until the child is older than one year, a stretching program is not likely to be effective, and surgery is usually necessary.

A similar condition may develop acutely in an older child, and it will typically disappear over a few days. Rest, local heat, pain relievers, and possibly physical therapy may be helpful once a physician has confirmed the diagnosis. There are a number of possible causes of this condition, including inflammation or infection in the neck and throat, as well as injury. It is important to have the child checked by a physician to make a diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment.

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature (usually sideways) of the spine, most commonly seen in adolescent girls but occasionally found in boys. The cause of this curvature is not known, but it seems to be associated with the growth spurt that takes place around puberty. Often the problem is picked up in school screening programs when the child bends forward at the hips while the examiner looks along the spine. If the ribs on one side appear higher than those on the other, scoliosis may be present. An X-ray is the best way to confirm the presence of a spinal curvature, from which the doctors can measure the degree of curvature.

Usually more than one curve is present. One of the curves is considered the main or primary curve, and the other is called the compensatory or secondary curve. If the primary curve is less than 25 degrees, the child is watched carefully, and an X-ray is usually taken every six months during the growth spurt. Curves greater than 25 degrees may require a brace to prevent the curve from worsening. (It is not intended to reduce the size of the curve.) Bracing is not always effective, however, and sometimes the curve continues to worsen. If the curve exceeds 40 to 50 degrees, surgery is usually recommended. The surgery is designed to decrease the size of the curve and fuse the spine to prevent the curve from increasing again. Steel rods are usually inserted along the spine to hold it straighter while the fusion becomes solid. After the fusion is solid (usually twelve months or more after surgery), the child can return to normal activities.

Kyphosis (or “roundback”) is an accentuation of the normal curvature of pine. Usually this is first noted early during the scene (between ages ten and fifteen) and often simply re-from bad posture. More severe cases are associated with e-shaped vertebrae, a condition known as Scheuermann’s disease. This is treated with an approach similar to that taken with scoliosis. If the deformity is less than 45 degrees the child is taught sitting exercises and watched carefully. If the curve is between 45-70 degrees, bracing is used. Once the curve exceeds 70 degrees, it is usually needed to correct it.

One of the more common causes of back pain in children is spondylolysis defect in a vertebra that may allow it to slide forward onto the one below (condition called spondylolisthesis). Treatment may include rest, and anti-inflammatory medication. If pain persists despite conservative treatment or if the gradual slipping of vertebra onto the other worsens, surgery may be necessary to stabilize that segment of the spine.

Muscle Facts

  • Muscles are special fibers that contract (tighten) and relax to move different parts of the body.
  • Voluntary muscles are all the muscles you can control by will or thinking, such as your arm muscles.
  • Involuntary muscles are the muscles you cannot control at will, but work automatically, such as the muscles that move food through your intestine.
  • Most voluntary muscles cover the skeleton and are therefore called skeletal muscles. They are also called striated (striped) muscle because there are dark bands on the bundles of fiber that form them.
  • Most involuntary muscles form sacs or tubes such as the intestine or the blood vessels. They are called smooth muscle because they lack the bands or stripes of voluntary muscles.
  • Most muscles are arranged in pairs, because although muscles can shorten themselves, they cannot make themselves longer. So the flexor muscle that bends a joint is paired with an extensor muscle to straighten it again.
  • This microscopic cross-section shows striated, or striped, skeletal muscle. It is so-called because its fibers are made of light and dark stripes.
  • The heart muscle is a unique combination of skeletal and smooth muscle. It has its own built-in contraction rhythm of 70 beats per minute and special muscle cells that work like nerve cells for transmitting the signals for waves of muscle contraction to sweep through the heart.
  • Your body’s longest muscle is the sartorius on the inner thigh.
  • Your body’s widest muscle is the external oblique which runs around the side of the upper body.
  • Your body’s biggest muscle is the gluteus maximus in your buttocks (bottom).
  • You have more than 640 skeletal muscles and they make up over 40% of your body’s entire weight, covering your skeleton like a bulky blanket. This illustration shows only the main surface muscles of the back, but your body has at least two, and sometimes three, layers of muscle beneath its surface muscles. Most muscles are firmly anchored at both ends and attached to the bones either side of a joint, either directly or by tough fibers called tendons.
  • Most muscles are long and thin and they work by pulling themselves shorter – sometimes contracting by up to half their length.
  • Skeletal muscles, the muscles that make you move, are made of special cells which have not just one nucleus like other cells do, but many nuclei in a long fiber, called a myofiber.
  • Muscles are made from hundreds or thousands of these fibers bound together like fibers in string.
  • Muscle fibers are made from tiny strands called myofibrils, each marked with dark bands, giving the muscle its name of stripcy or ‘striated’ muscle.
  • The stripes in muscle are alternate bands of filaments of two substances: actin and myosin.
  • The actin and myosin interlock, like teeth on a zip.
  • When a nerve signal comes from the brain, chemical ‘hooks’ on the myosin twist and yank the actin filaments along, shortening the muscle.
  • The chemical hooks on myosin are made from a stem called a cross-bridge and a head made of a chemical called adenosine triphosphate or ATP.
  • ATP is sensitive to calcium, and the nerve signal transmitted from the brain that tells the muscle to contract does its work by releasing a flood of calcium to trigger the ATP.
  • Muscles, such as the biceps and triceps in your upper arm, work in pairs, pulling in opposite directions to one another.

Skin Facts

  • Skin is your protective coat, shielding your body from the weather and from infection, and helping to keep it at just the right temperature.
  • Skin is your largest sense receptor, responding to touch, pressure, heat and cold.
  • Even though its thickness averages just 2 mm, your skin gets an eighth of all your blood supply.
  • The epidermis is made mainly of a tough protein called keratin — the remains of skin cells that die off.
  • Below the epidermis is a thick layer of living cells called the dermis, which contains the sweat glands.
  • Hair roots have tiny muscles that pull the hair upright when you are cold, giving you goose bumps.
  • Skin is 6 mm thick on the soles of your feet, and just 0.5 mm thick on your eyelids.
  • The epidermis contains cells that make the dark pigment melanin — this gives dark-skinned people their color and fair-skinned people a tan.
  • Skin makes vitamin D for your body from sunlight.
  • The epidermis, the thin outer layer, is just dead cells.

Berry Facts

  • Berries are fleshy fruit which contain lots of seeds. The bright colours attract birds which eat the flesh. The seeds pass out in the birds’ droppings and so spread.
  • Bananas, tomatoes and cranberries are all berries.
  • Many berries are bright red and
  • Cloudberries are aggregate fruits like shiny to attract birds. raspberries. The tiny amber berries grow close to the ground in the far north, and are collected by Inuits and Sami people in autumn to freeze for winter food. 194
  • Cloudberries are also known as salmonberries, bakeberries, malka and baked appleberries.
  • Cranberries grow wild on small trailing plants in marshes, but are now cultivated extensively in the USA in places such as Massachusetts.
  • Wild huckleberries are the American version of the European bilberry. But the evergreen huckleberry sold in florists is actually a blueberry.
  • Me strawberry tree’s Latin name is unedo, which means ‘I eat one. The red berries are not as tasty as they look.
  • According to Greek mythology, the wine-red mulberry was once white but was stained red by the Hood of the tragic lovers Pyramus and Thisbe, whose story is retold in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Glacier Facts

  • Glaciers move slowly but their sheer weight and size give them enormous power to shape the landscape.
  • Over tens of thousands of years glaciers carve out winding valleys into huge, straight U-shaped troughs.
  • Glaciers may truncate (slice off) tributary valleys to leave them ‘hanging, with a cliff edge high above the main valley. Hill spurs (ends of hills) may also be truncated.
  • Cirques, or corries, are armchair-shaped hollows carved out where a glacier begins high up in the mountains.
  • Valley glaciers are long, narrow bodies of ice that fill high mountain valleys.
  • Arétes are knife-edge ridges that are left between several cirques as the glaciers in them cut backwards.
  • Drift is a blanket of debris deposited by glaciers. Glaciofluvial drift is left by the water made as the ice melts. Till is left by the ice itself.
  • Drumlins are egg-shaped mounds of till. Eskers are snaking ridges of drift left by streams under the ice.
  • Moraine is piles of debris left by glaciers.
  • Proglacial lakes are lakes of glacial meltwater dammed up by moraine.
  • After an Ice Age, glaciers leave behind a dramatically altered landscape of deep valleys and piles of debris.
  • After the last Ice Age, water from the huge Lake Agassiz submerged over 500,000 sq km of land near Winnipeg, in North America.

Nail Care

Because an infant’s fingernails grow quickly and may accidentally scratch the face, they should be gently trimmed once or twice a week using infant nail clippers. Toenails, (which do not grow as quickly and can’t cause any injury) need only be trimmed once or twice a month.

The hands of a young child are constantly exploring the world around him, and thus both fingers and fingernails are at risk for a variety of injuries. If a child is barefoot much of the time, toenails could occasionally be injured as well. If a nail becomes cracked without roughness, no special care is needed. If a nail is nearly torn however, use clippers or scissors cleansed with rub alcohol to cut off the loose fragment. Each day, soak hand or foot for twenty minutes in a solution of salt water (1 tsp salt in 2 cups water), then apply biotic ointment and a small adhesive bandage and in about a week, the raw nail bed will be covered with new skin, and this routine can be stopped. A new one will eventually grow out.

Occasionally a crush injury (as occurs when a finger is in the path of a in a closing door) will cause bleeding under the nail. This will be manifested by a deep blue discoloration of the nail and a great deal of pain. This in turn should be seen by the child’s physician, who may use a special tool to poke a hole in the nail to release the blood and relieve pain immediately. If the nail bed is cut as the result of a crush injury, it may need to be treated under local anesthesia.

Nail biting is a commonly self-comforting, bad habit among children. Attempts to stop it through ridicule or punishment will cause more harm than good. A child who wants to break the habit can beat it in a variety of ways:

Offer a reward for a certain number of days or weeks of “biteless” nails.

Devise a simple, nonjudgmental signal (such as saying the child’s name in a friendly tone and pointing to your hand) you can use when you see him biting his nails.

Sour-tasting solutions painted on the nails may serve as a reminder to keep fingers out of the mouth.

An infection of the soft tissue at the junction of the fingernail is called a paronychia. This usually involves common staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria. The infection arises from a break in the skin resulting from thumb-sucking, chewing, or pulling on the cuticle. Occasionally, pus will drain from the breakage which also has a tendency to become red and irritated. If a pus pocket is clearly visible, your child’s doctor might lance it, which will relieve pressure and reduce pain. The doctor might recommend 10 or 15 minute soaks in a solution of a little antibacterial soap in 6 to 8 ounces of warm water, along with the application of an antibiotic ointment. In more severe cases, oral antibiotics might be prescribed.

Ingrown toenails are caused by improper cutting of the toenails and/or wearing tight shoes, and the nail becomes embedded in the flesh. Always cut a toenail straight across rather than curve it down on the sides. If an ingrown nail develops, soak the foot daily in a solution of soap and water as just described. Massage the swollen part of the toe away from the nail. Frequently, ingrown toenails (especially on the big toe) become infected, causing pain, redness, and swelling where the nail joins the infected skin. While gentle cleansing and warm soaks may help to some extent, your child’s doctor might recommend antibiotics and/or removal of the segment of nail that has become embedded in the skin. (A local anesthetic is given to numb the toe before this is done.)